5 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Following Your Passion

5 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Following Your Passion

In 2006, I had a vague feeling of unease.

I felt like something was missing, but I didn’t know what.

I was playing poker professionally and making a good living, but I yearned for more.

More fulfillment. More excitement. More purpose. More joy.

It’s been over half a decade since, and today I’m making a living doing what I love. I’m absolutely in love with the work I do and my life.

But the journey there was filled with stumbling into pitfalls and getting shoved back by walls.

That’s why this article is all about the mistakes I made during my path.

By writing this, I hope you can avoid them, although sometimes you can’t, because you need to make mistakes in order to move forward.

Let’s dive in.

1. The Perfection Trap

One of the first problems I ran into was trying to find the perfect passion.

I got so caught up in this that I made no progress at all. I wanted to make a living online, but I lacked focus.

I never focused on one thing for long enough to allow it to work.

Trying to find perfection paralyzed me.

But in 2009 something happened. I realized that if I wanted to make this work, I had to start where I was with what I had.

That’s when I decided to focus on building a small niche site online. I got in touch with someone who was already doing what I wanted to do, and I implemented what I learned.

As I took whatever steps I could take, my path began unfolding before my eyes. I realized that it is by taking one step at a time that I’ll get to the top of the mountain.

It is by starting where I am with what I can do that I’ll allow myself to move forward. If I try to climb the mountain in one leap, I’ll never even get started, because it’s too overwhelming.

I had to be willing to start where I was and let it lead me.

So when you’re pursuing your dreams, avoid making grandiose plans. You don’t have to find that one perfect passion. You just have to follow the passion clues in front of you.

Look at what you can do today, and then pick what excites or interests you. When you’re done with that, look around and take the next step that interests you.

2. Forcing Progress

When I realized I could get paid to do something I was interested in, I got lost in chasing money.

I wanted to make more money, and I wanted to make it fast. In other words, I began forcing progress. I ended up feeling frustrated, lost, and overwhelmed.

Whenever I force progress, it means I’m trying to do something I can’t do.

I used to work 12-hour days to try and make things happen. Today I work 2-3 hours per day and make more progress because I listen to my inspiration. I take action when I feel good.

I’ve become aware of the fact that things happen in their own time. I can enjoy the ride and let life unfold naturally.

Trying to be somewhere or accomplish something comes from me believing that if I could just get somewhere, I would be happier.

But the truth of the matter is that I can be happy now, and I can move from that place of happiness. I can take inspired action instead of needy action (trying to get something or do something to become happier).

And when I do, the action I take is many times more powerful.

So look at the options you have available to you right now, and then notice which one is the most interesting to you. Then do that.

Don’t try to force things. If you feel overwhelmed. Go lie down, relax, and when you feel better, ideas will pop up.

3. Thinking Ahead

I’m a master worrier.

I can conjure up horror movie-like scenarios in my head. In the past, I used to ponder what could go wrong, but as the years have passed, I’ve began leaning more towards pondering what can go right.

Why?

Because worrying doesn’t help. If anything, worrying makes what you worry about happen.

Imagine that you’re driving to the next town. You’re moving forward and everything is going well, but uh oh, suddenly you have a thought: What if I don’t make it?

What if the people in that town don’t like me?

What if I put in all this time for nothing?

So you stop the car and start thinking about your potentially grim fate. You stop moving, and eventually you decide that you’ll never get there, so you turn around and head home.

While this may sound ridiculous, this is what many do (myself included), then we wonder why nothing good ever happens.

The solution for me has not been to try and eliminate bad thoughts. I simply let them be, but I focus on what could go right.

I ask more productive questions and I guide my thoughts to places that feel good. And when I do, I get inspired, and good things happen.

4. Making Fear Your Enemy

On my journey to doing what I love, fear has kept popping up time and time again. But fear isn’t my enemy.

I’ve noticed that when I follow my passion, it highlights what no longer belongs. It shows me beliefs and fears that need to be let go of.

Most people believe they’re doing something wrong when irrational fears, anxieties and worries pop up, but the opposite is true.

When you follow your heart and go after your dreams, you will have to let go of your baggage so you can soar higher.

The way I deal with fear is to feel it fully. When I have a particularly bad day, I’ll lie down, and feel whatever is going on in my body. It is only through feeling what you feel that you can let it go.

So don’t let fear scare you. Take it as a sign that you’re on the right path. Feel your fear fully.

Notice what you’re thinking about as you feel the fear. It’s often something you don’t want. Flip it to something you do want and notice what happens.

5. Creating Rules

Last, but not least, when I was starting out, I would be so worried about failing that I’d take the advice of successful people and make them into rules.

I wanted to follow a formula that would guarantee my success. The more I did that, the worse my results were.

The key for me was to take what I learned, such as how to build a popular blog, and make it my own. I experimented with the advice and saw what worked and what didn’t.

I noticed what felt right, and I did what I could. I didn’t try to apply everything I learned.

And that’s really the key, you have to do what feels best for you, and you have to uncover your own answers.

Doing that has helped me build a 10,000+ subscriber blog and a passion business that supports me and my family.

The Bottom Line

When following your passion, you have to be willing to stop looking for permission. You have to start looking inside for the answers.

The more I’ve started doing this, the more I’ve noticed that I have everything I need to move forward. I have the inspiration and inner nudges that take me places.

You can always make excuses for why you can’t take action, but the truth is that you can always take the next step.

And the next step is all that’s needed.

You don’t have to figure out your life right now.

You don’t have to find the perfect passion.

You just have to take the next step.

You have to do what you can with what you have.

That’s it.

And if you have trouble finding your passion, or living a fulfilling life, you can check out my book, Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions, I’ll be in the comments below.

Photo by Caden Crawford

Henri Junttila

Henri is a freelance writer and the founder of Wake Up Cloud, where he helps people turn their passion into a thriving lifestyle business. When you feel ready to take action, grab his free special report.

16 Comments

  1. I enjoyed your article, short, sweet and to the point -

    Reply
  2. gorgeous…

    Reply
  3. Hi Henry.
    I’m an administrator secretary, on my way to becoming an interior designer.
    I’m on the right track, I can feel it.
    I even know that I have to let go f my day job to persue my passion.
    When will that be? … Soon, really soon, I hope.
    I’ll keep waiting, untill then: baby steps!
    Tks for the tips!

    Reply
  4. Great Blogpost, really insightful, I have definitely been caught by the perfection trap, I keep changing direction in order to make sure I get it right but I never end up getting anywhere (unsurprising of course)

    Reply
  5. Well said Henri! You can’t force the process because there are important things to be learned.
    Focus but don’t force, and as for rule … break them! :)

    I really believe you have to create your own fit .. but you have to pay attention.

    Nice to see you on ‘The Change Blog’ …

    Reply
  6. If you are truly following your passion, then none of these are a problem until you let external forces interfer. It is amazing how often when I work with passionate clients, the SNIOPs in their family are an enemy to their passion. The people who love us most often want to stop us living passionately. They insist on the rules etc. Interesting post

    Reply
  7. Very insightful post, and perfectly timed for me since I’m at the very first step of a very long staircase and I’m personally dealing with all of these issues right now. I’m trying to allow myself to be okay with being a beginner and focusing on the task in the present moment rather than worrying about my long list of to-dos!

    For a while, I got caught up in buying information products and spent way too much time “learning.” For me, learning feels much more comfortable because it’s something I’m good at. The best advice I received was to only learn whatever you need for the task you are currently working on.

    Reply
  8. Useful tips. Know your passion. It can not be many. Those who keep flitting around, like butterflies, thinking that passion is leading them, are only deluding themselves. Path will be found. One has only to keep going tirelessly. If desert comes, oasis will also be found somewhere.

    Reply
  9. Wow, thank you. I could certainly resonate with a lot of what you wrote. I am on a very similar path myself, however at a much earlier stage, and though I already learned some of what you said, most of it was great inspiration and makes me feel even more confident that I can make my online business happen.

    Reply
  10. There are two sides to thinking ahead though. One is analyzing what little things which will help you out in the long term, and keeping them up, which is awesome. But as you say, when you scare yourself by conjuring up stories of disaster, that is counter productive.

    I have fallen victim to all these traps, but I hadn’t even considered the last one. I have been forcing rules upon myself for a while now, and it’s time to break free!

    Reply
  11. Awesome Henri,

    Your words and thoughts feel like mine. I have the same fears and obstacles in my mind about my passion and upcoming time. I am really grateful that you make them clear some for me. That “Thinking Ahead” & “Forcing Progress” are such points which I also want to work on to avoid. Great post indeed!

    Reply
  12. Thank you for making me think of fear in a different way as I am trying to pursue a new career, that of author. It is my passion.

    Reply
  13. Henri, this is a great and inspiring post. What resonated with me is believing you should ‘start with where you are and with what you have’. This in itself is great motivation – and allows no room for fear or excuses; it avoids feelings of being overwhelmed – and so simple!

    Thank you

    Reply
  14. You have an interesting background. I knew my passion going into this: writing and music. It’s only a part-time gig for me as I teach for a living and am a single dad, but my intention is to slowly grow my writing/blogging/speaking, http://www.danerickon.net, into career after retirement form teaching.

    Reply
  15. Taking one step at a time really resonates with me. I’ve always had the tendency to look way into the future and getting lost in things that never really happen.

    Perfectionism can really be a blessing and a curse.

    Great post man.

    Ps: I had no idea you had this blog too. I was reading wake up cloud earlier today.

    Reply
  16. Hi Henri
    Thanks for this..just the boost I needed right now…Good luck for the future.
    Sharon

    Reply

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